Thursday, March 27, 2008

Differences Between Short Sales and Bank REOs or Repos

As you know, it is a great time to be a "buyer" in our Las Vegas real estate market. Pricing on homes is almost back to the 2005 level, with many of them reduced to be "moved" by the banks. REOs and short sales currently make up almost 40% of the Las Vegas homes for sale.

Bank repos, also known as REOs (real estate owned), are properties that have already been foreclosed upon by the bank. They may be in pretty rough condition, and it is very common for the landscaping to be completely dead and have to be replaced. They are sold "as is, where is" with no warranties. But in some cases you can make your offer contingent upon an inspection to see if any major repair work may be required. (Some banks won't allow the due diligence period for an inspection, so you may have to have one done prior to making an offer.)

Having said all that, you can get a "good deal" with a bank owned property as long as you allow for these extra costs and buy the home for the right price to begin with. Just because it is a foreclosure, it may or may not be a great deal.

Short sales are a different creature. The homeowner is behind on their payments, and, in most cases, is hoping that the lender(s) involved will let them sell "short" of what is owed. This means the bank(s) has to approve the sale. Again, in some cases, the house will be listed at an extremely low price designed to entice offers. These offers are brought to the lender (s) for approval and if there is more than one offer, the bank(s) will negotiate the prices up, if possible, to reduce their losses. Some banks may take 30-45 days to even respond to an offer, perhaps hoping to get more than one. And the bank usually does not sign off on the offer until just prior to closing, which means they may also accept a new offer up to that point. So even though you have verbal acceptance, until it is actually signed, a short sale can be revoked at any time.

Don't overlook regular owner occupied "turn-key" homes in this market either. Lately, most homes are priced to compete with the foreclosures: they come with home warranties and they don't need out-of-pocket cash dropped into them like most of the Las Vegas foreclosures do.

If you think you are interested in a foreclosure or short sale, send us the general parameters of what you are looking for: price range, number of bedrooms, pool, location etc. We will be happy to place you on our automatic email update system that will immediately send you any new listing that comes on the market with your foreclosure criteria. (The best ones go fast, so be prepared to act quickly!) Or call us at 702-985-7654 to discuss doing a customized search for you. See more at the Las Vegas Real Estate Agent blog site.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Amazing Deals on Units Available Pre Closing at the Palms

Even at the Palms Place, where most buyers were the young and the wealthy with cash to burn, there were some buyers that knew a good investment when they saw it. They took the plunge and plunked down a 20% deposit on one of the elegant Palms Place condo hotel units hoping to make a bundle by the time the property was built.

Unfortunately in the meantime the national economy stalled and the Las Vegas real estate market dropped. Now, almost four years later, many of these same buyers are unable to obtain financing in the aftermath of the subprime market debacle. They are desperate to find a buyer just to recoup part of their deposit.

The units below are all available on the pre closing market. The original purchasers of these units want to assign thier contracts prior to closing with the Palms, and these prices are far lower than the units that have closed and are already listed for resale! Check out the one bedroom unit for only $700k! Now THAT is MOTIVATED!!

1 Bed

1 Bed

1 Bed





1 Bedroom - Strip View - $700,000 - Deal of the Day!

* All units are fully furnished
* Closing March 2008
* Studio (approx) 620 Sq. ft.
* 1 Bedroom (approx) 1,220 Sq. ft.
**Please note, the units are all on the upper level floors. Residential units start on the 8th floor. Floors 13, 14 and all of the 40's have been skipped due to superstition.

If you would like to find out the details on the assignments, please give me a call at 702-985-7654 right away!

If you can't quite afford the Palms Place but really want to buy Las Vegas high rise condos, there are also some GREAT deals to be had in the Residences at MGM starting in the high $300s.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Las Vegas Foreclosures and Auctions – Free Seminars on Buying a Dream Home, Not a Nightmare!

Everyone in the housing market these days is looking for a “steal.” But around the country purchasers are finding that buying a property through foreclosure or at auction is not an easy process. There is no standardized format for purchasing, and banks and auction houses are selling these properties “as is, where is.” So “buyer beware” is certainly applicable.

Currently the number of Las Vegas foreclosures is among the highest in the nation, and foreclosed inventory on the market has driven down prices in the Valley substantially from the all time highs of 2005. Investors are returning to the city to pick up great deals and benefit from the strong local rental market, while first time buyers are taking advantage of affordable housing. Lower priced Las Vegas homes under $250k are even receiving multiple offers, lending strength to the belief that the Las Vegas price decline may have bottomed out.

For those desiring to take advantage of the lowest prices in the past three years, but leery of buying a “lemon,” a series of FREE 45 minute seminars on foreclosures and Las Vegas auctions is being sponsored by the Tonnesen Team of Prudential Americana Group Realtors. Speakers will be acknowledged specialists in the foreclosure and auction process. Participants will receive printed information on the “how to’s” of purchasing along with detailed property listings, and there will be an open question and answer period. Each foreclosure seminar will cover a different area of the Las Vegas Valley, and each auction seminar will cover a specific upcoming auction event.

The next free auction seminar covering the details on the upcoming Hudson and Marshall Auction will be held on Tuesday April 1st at 6pm at 871 Coronado Center Drive, Suite 100, Henderson, NV. This auction will cover 100’s of properties around Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas, with starting bids beginning in the $50k range but also covering high end luxury properties as well. (Exact dates and place for the auction are yet to be announced, but it will take place sometime in mid April.) This seminar will include: getting pre-registered to bid at the auction, a catalogue of the properties to be auctioned, how to do your due diligence prior to the auction, how the auction process works, what to take with you to the auction, and a preferred lender on hand to pre-qualify you to bid.

The next free foreclosure seminar will be held on Sunday April 13th at 2pm at 871 Coronado Center Drive, Suite 100, Henderson, NV. Foreclosures in the areas of Anthem, Seven Hills, Green Valley and Lake Las Vegas will be covered. Included at the seminar will be our “Top Foreclosure Picks” followed by an optional private tour of properties. This seminar will include information on: the differences between foreclosures and shortsales and how it affects you as a buyer, what to expect when bidding on a foreclosure – what the bank will and will not do, doing due diligence on foreclosure properties, a complete list of foreclosed properties in the day’s featured area, agents on hand to do a custom search of foreclosure properties that meet your budget and a preferred lender on hand to pre-qualify you to put an offer in on a foreclosure (required on all bank owned properties)

Call 702-958-7654 to register now, or register online at: to participate in upcoming seminars.

In addition, every client who purchases a foreclosure or auction property from the Tonnesen Team will receive discount coupons for their home inspection plus the preferred lender will contribute a new washer and dryer!**

**Purchaser must use the preferred lender for their mortgage and close escrow to receive a free washer and dryer.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bits and Pieces of the Latest Las Vegas Real Estate News

Today's blog is bits and pieces of things that are currently going on in the Las Vegas real estate market.

Clark County commissioners have given final approval to plans for the $6 billion Las Vegas Plaza Hotel and Casino Resort (modeled after The Plaza Hotel in New York) to be built on the site of the former Frontier Hotel and Casino. Despite earlier rumors that the project was stalling due to a shaky credit market, Elad chief Miki Naftali said the project was “forging ahead as planned.” Elad also owns The Plaza in New York and a Las Vegas spokesman for the group says groundbreaking could take place later this year on the 3,500-room Las Vegas Strip project which is slated to open in 2011.

Deutsche Bank announced that it was going to be commencing foreclosure proceedings on the Cosmopolitan Resort Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. According to Deutsche Bank, they have made arrangements with the contractor to continue with construction. And sales are still being made out of the sales center in anticipation that developer Bruce Eichner will either find additional financing or will be bought out of the project. The Las Vegas luxury condos are already more than 80% sold out and the Cosmopolitan's location is the best on the Strip, making it desirable to potential purchasers or partners, and Eichner expects to reach an agreement before long.

Two major Las Vegas residential projects, Inspirada and Kyle Canyon Gateway, are having difficulties meeting their mortgage obligations. Inspirada, a 2,000-acre project, was supposed to give rise to as many as 13,500 homes. There have been about only about 162 homes sold so far, according to Focus Group, master developer. And some of the smaller partners that are joint venturing in the project are unable to meet their commitments, leaving the larger partners to either take on their portion of the debt and put more money in, or decide to walk away entirely. With existing Las Vegas new homes builders getting low on inventory, putting these two large projects on indefinite hold would certainly help stabilize prices.

The FBI is currently carrying out a number of investigations in the Las Vegas area, uncovering fraudulent schemes involving 14 financial institutions. Some of the schemes under scrutiny include artificially inflating home values and placing low income buyers and/or beginner investors into adjustable rate mortgages that they can't afford when the rates reset and forcing them into foreclosure.

Currently Las Vegas foreclosures are among the highest in the nation and foreclosed inventory on the market has driven down prices in the city substantially from all time highs in 2005. Investment buyers are returning to the city to pick up great buys and benefit from the strong local rental market, while first time buyers are taking advantage of affordable housing. Lower priced single family homes under $250k are even receiving multiple offers, lending strength to the belief that the price decline may have bottomed out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

To Lock or Not to Lock?

It's not bad enough that buyers are already leary of the the general Las Vegas real estate market. Borrowers also wonder if they should lock in interest rates on their new Las Vegas homes when they first apply for a loan, or should they wait and see where the market goes. My standard response is that my crystal ball is broken, and that if I really knew the answer, I would be playing the international money markets. I have literally heard every lender in town swear that rates were going down and all of a sudden they went up, and visa versa.

So either choice involves some risk. If you lock now and rates fall, you lose. If you don't lock now and rates rise, you also lose. It's all about how much risk you are willing to take and if you are going to be more unhappy if rates rise and you aren't locked, or if you will be more unhappy if rates fall and you are locked.

The first step is to understand how the rate locking process works. There are no industry standards to go by, a lock with one lender may be radically different from the lock in program with another.

Here are some items to verify: What is being locked in? An interest rate? Or an interest rate and points? Points are a form of interest, so if a rate is locked in but not points, then the effective rate for the loan can rise before closing if the interest level stays the same but the number of points increases.

How long is the lock in? A typical lock lasts 30 days, but longer terms may be available, even up to a year on new homes.

Is there an upfront cost to lock the rate? If you pay a fee for a lock and borrow at a different rate or from a different lender, then the prepaid fee will be lost. In some cases, lenders collect a lock in fee and then credit the money to the borrower at closing. In this situation, there is no additional cost to lock the rate if you go through with the loan.

One benefit to look for: is there a "float down" option? You would lock in a rate at the current market interest rate, but if rates fall prior to your closing you would have a one time chance to finance your purchase at a lower rate.

When you lock in a loan rate lenders have one of two choices: They can secure a loan commitment with an investor at the promised rate or they can play the market themselves and hope that by settlement they can get your rate or better.

But what happens if a lender plays the market and rates go up? The lender loses. The problem is that not all lenders play fair. It doesn't happen often, but some lenders will delay the loan application process past the lock period, thus ending their commitment to make the loan.

How can you avoid this problem? Consider Las Vegas mortgage lenders recommended by your broker. An experienced broker will know which lenders have a good record delivering on commitments.

In general, whether you lock in or not, it's best to be in continual contact with the lender. Make a point to promptly supply all required paperwork, and keep notes showing when you spoke with the loan officer and what was discussed. Get timed, dated and signed receipts for all paperwork you deliver.

So when should you lock in? There just isn't a single answer that works for every situation. You need to consider general interest trends and realize that no one can predict future rates.

For more information regarding lock in agreements for your purchase, just call us at 702-985-7654 and we can review the features that can best serve your interests.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Deadbeat Landlords Leave Tenants in Bad Situations

It is happening all over the country - unsuspecting tenants are returning home from work to find an eviction notice on the front door. The bank has aquired the property through foreclosure and the tenant has to get out of their current home within 30 days. The tenant almost never is able to recoup any of the rent money paid or get the security deposit back.

And in a market rife with vacant homes for sale, Las Vegas has more than its fair share of deadbeat landlords and unscrupulous property managers. Almost half of the 19,000 homes currently listed are Las Vegas foreclosures and many of them are Las Vegas new homes that were purchased by investors and have never been lived in.

One recent incident came to our attention:

A Las Vegas real estate agent who was renting a luxury 4500 square foot Las Vegas homes, came back to find the eviction notice on the front door. Immediately he called the property manager whose phone was all of a sudden disconnected. Doing some detective work he was able to track down the home's owner who lived in South America and contact him by phone. Turns out that the "property manager" was an unlicensed friend of the owner. The owner had had half a dozen properties his "friend" was "managing," and the "friend" was supposed to be paying the mortgages on them from the rental proceeds. (In Nevada, by law you must have a property management license to manage rentals that belong to someone other than yourself.)

Unfortunately, the "friend" never made a mortgage payment and absconded with the hefty security deposits and monthly rental fees being paid by the tenants. It also turned out that the owner had never even signed the rental agreement on this particular property. His signature had been forged and the "friend" had told him that this property had remained unrented.

The real estate agent's chances of recouping his $4500 security deposit is almost nil. He has to find another home to rent and move his wife, three kids and brother plus assorted pets in a very short time. The owner's home is already foreclosed upon and he lost all his equity to the bank.

How can tenants protect themselves from this happening to them?In Las Vegas, Noble Title Company is offering a $200 service for tenants called a "Request for Notice." The service identifies the legal owner of the property and whether or not the property is currently in foreclosure. If the landlord is not in foreclosure, the Request for Notice requires the bank to notify the renter should the home go into foreclosure, which would give the tenant at least four months to pack up and move before the bank repossesses the home.

At least with this service, if the tenant receives a notice that the property is in foreclosure, they could opt NOT to pay rent to recoup some of their expenses and their potentially lost security deposit. And they wouldn't be quite so jammed for time to find a new place to live. (The real estate agent mentioned above had a real problem. He already had his kids in specific Las Vegas schools, and there were no other large properties in that area for rent. He was not only forced to move his family to a different home, his kids had to move schools as well.)

So tenants beware! Even though you are only renting a home, you still need to do your due diligence to make sure you aren't unexpectedly out on the street and out of pocket as well. See posts more about Las Vegas Real Estate here.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

National Foreclosure Crisis Not as Bad as it Seems

I just read this great article by Scott Burns, and thought I would like to share it with my readers! Makes great sense amid all the media hullaballoo. And for those with savvy, right now is a terrific time to buy Las Vegas real estate!

Sure, there are pockets of pain around the US, but it's not as if most Americans are losing their homes. More than 99% of homes aren't in foreclosure. By Scott Burns

A recent list of year-end mortgage foreclosure rates in 100 top metropolitan areas drew a lot of attention. Released by RealtyTrac, a company that compiles data on home foreclosures, the list showed the number of foreclosure filings in each metro area, the percentage of homes being foreclosed and the percentage change from the previous year. Though the report had some dismal news -- such as the nearly 4.9% foreclosure rate in the Stockton, Calif., area -- a close look at the data also provides some reassuring information. It tells me, for instance, that the foreclosure crisis is a regional problem, not a systemic one. It could become a systemic problem, of course, but we're a long way from that now.

This news will disappoint the gloom-and-doom crew and all those seeking the excitement of financial upheaval. But it may be time to temper our worry and take a closer look at some of the year-over-year foreclosure statistics: Though the national rate of foreclosure increased by a whopping 79% between December 2006 and December 2007, the rate was still only 1.033%. Because about 30% of all homes are owned mortgage-free, this means that for all the noise about a crisis, only seven-tenths of 1% of all homes were in foreclosure.

In the top 100 housing markets, the average foreclosure rate was somewhat higher -- 1.38% -- and it was up 78% over the previous year. (Even in the Valley, where the Las Vegas foreclosures at at 4.23%, most of those are investment properties bought in the heat of the boom.) But if you rank-ordered the list of the top 100 areas, only 34 had foreclosure rates above the group average. Fifty-one areas had rates of 1% or less. Foreclosure rates actually fell in 14 of the 100 areas. More important, many of the areas with the highest increases in foreclosure rates were rising off rates that were tiny. The Bethesda, Md., area, to offer the most extreme case, saw foreclosures rise 1,288% -- to a rate of 0.682%. In other words, foreclosures there were virtually nonexistent the year before. Today they are still well below the national average. The same can be said for the Albany, N.Y., area (up 638% to 0.25%), the Baltimore area (up 544% to 0.73%) and the Providence, R.I., area (up 354% to 0.41%).

Another pattern emerges if you cross the foreclosure rates with the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) index of home prices. It shows that the top 10 foreclosure areas in America are areas of extreme price change -- changes far from the national average of 46.92% over the past five years. Seven of the top 10 foreclosure areas had experienced major price spikes in the past five years. Three of the top 10 foreclosure areas had experienced price increases that were dramatically lower than the national average.

That pattern continues when you examine the top 25 foreclosure areas. The seven areas with the top price appreciation for the past five years averaged a stunning 91.6% increase, nearly double the national average. The national average, in turn, was about triple the inflation rate for the period. (Las Vegas homes increased 88.3% over the past five years.) Small wonder the foreclosure rate is booming as well. Anyone who bought in the past few years with a 5% or 10% down payment has a good chance of being upside down as froth comes off the market. In those areas the problem is about irrational price spikes and the hazards they bring to homeownership.

Some would call this "a Cadillac problem" -- a great problem to have, like having more boats than you have water-skiers. Though 5% of the homeowners may be losing their homes, most of the other 95% probably feel significantly richer.

Las Vegas new homes builders are running out of inventory and lower priced housing is starting to get multiple offers again. 2008 is going to be a better year for the Las Vegas market, for sure!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Palms Place Condos Ready to Close - Resale Units Now Available

During the month of March both the much anticipated Palms Place and Trump Tower will be closing on their condo hotel units. In Palms Place, which is a smaller boutique project catering to hot young celebrities, the demand for resale units is expected to be higher than the supply.

When the Palms Place originally offered their condo hotel suites for purchase to the public in 2004, they were snapped up by hotel regulars. Frustrated Palms patrons who were not among the lucky few to secure a unit drifted to the Hard Rock, the other hotel catering to the young and trendy, only to be later disappointed when that project was scrapped in a sale to the Morgan's Hotel Group.

Now the Palms Place tower is finished and has finally opened the doors to its first luxury condo residents, including rapper Eminem, wrestler Hulk Hogan, and singer Jessica Simpson. Palms Place is a 599 unit boutique project with a mix of fully furnished 600-square-foot studio units and 1,200-square-foot one-bedroom suites, while the more exclusive clients own penthouses on the top four floors. Palms Place is associated with the Palms Hotel and Casino which boasts the city's most popular nightclubs, arena and a PlayBoy Club.

Closings will be progressing during the month of March on the condo hotel suites, with only a small fraction expected to be put up for resale contrary to condo hotel projects like the MGM Residences where over 150 units are currently on the market. But a few over-leveraged purchasers are expected to be offering their Palms Place units for sale as they come to closing. There are currently about half a dozen units that are available with prices starting in the high $500s. With the Las Vegas homes market finally picking up momentum again in spite of the national housing bust, none of these units are projected to last long as the word spreads.

To get more information on available units or to be put on the priority interest list to receive notice of units as soon as they become listed, please contact our office at 702-985-7654 of fill out the form online at: Palms Place Registration

In the meantime, down the street at Trump Tower the first closings will also be going on during March for those who are looking for immediate possession of a Las Vegas condo hotel in a quieter atmosphere in keeping with Trump name. The Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas will contain 880 studio units and 352 one-bedroom condominiums and 50 suites of one, two, or three bedrooms on the top five floors. Other popular condo hotel projects that will not be finished until late 2009 are the MGM City Center and the Cosmopolitan Resort Hotel and Casino. Both projects are located right on the center Strip next door to the Bellagio Hotel and are currently selling preconstruction.

To get floor plans or more information on any of these properties please visit our web site at: Las Vegas High Rise Condos

Attention investors! If you have already purchased a condo hotel property or are considering buying one, we have access to 25% down condo hotel financing on full document loans or 45% on stated income loans. Please contact our office so that we can put you in touch with our Las Vegas mortgage lenders.

Las Vegas Condo Sales Still Hot

Apparently, people with money are still willing to pay to own a piece of the Strip. The Las Vegas single-family housing market is slowly picking up again as bargain hunters flock to pick up Las Vegas foreclosures and short sale properties.

Luxury Las Vegas High Rise Condos along the resort corridor, however, are actually flourishing. The first new residents are expected to take ownership of their high-rise one- and two-bedroom units inside the Trump International and Palms Place this month. The Palms Place was such a small boutique project that buyers are lining up to purchase any resales that might become available after closing. Many of these buyers had purchased in the Hard Rock Hotel project, only to be frustrated when Hard Rock owner Peter Morton sold the property to the Morgan's Hotel Group and the project was scrapped.

Luxury condominium sales along Las Vegas Boulevard are also going strong. Sales of the nearly 2,670 residential units within MGM Mirage's $8.1 billion to $8.4 billion MGM City Center development are proceeding at a steady clip.As of last month, buyers had claimed more than half of CityCenter's residential offerings, totaling more than $1.67 billion in sales. CityCenter, a 77-acre site that includes a 4,000-room hotel-casino, boutique hotels, and a massive retail, entertainment and dining pavilion as its centerpiece, doesn't open until November 2009.

"Demand for the residential offerings at CityCenter continues to exceed expectations," said Bob Hamrick, senior vice president of CityCenter Realty Corp. Several multimillion-dollar penthouses have been sold at the Harmon, one of CityCenter's four residential offerings. Residences at the Harmon, which is owned by the Light Group, are attracting a celebrity-laden list of buyers. The Harmon, a nongaming hotel, has 207 residential units, including 15 penthouses.

In addition, the $2.2 billion Encore, CityCenter, the Cosmopolitan, and the $2.9 billion Fontainebleau are all scheduled to open in 2009. These new resorts have the potential to boost Las Vegas' business prospects by quantum leaps as they add more than 120,000 new jobs to the local economy. Experts are predicting that by 2011 Las Vegas will experience another housing shortage and the Las Vegas real estate boom days will be back.

It's no wonder that the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Expo Center are adding convention space. The Las Vegas Sands is planning to replace its 1.2 million square foot Sands Expo & Convention Center with a new $680-million development on an adjacent site. The site could hold 10 to 14 million square feet of development. The Las Vegas Convention Center will undergo another major renovation beginning in the middle of this year. The $890 million project—the largest investment in the center's history—will include the construction of a new grand lobby that will connect all of the center's three halls, and the development of a meeting room concourse, adjacent to the South Hall, that will provide 87,000 square feet of new meeting space, for a total of 321,000 square feet. And the new Echelon development will also add more than 750,000 square feet of total meeting and convention space.

For the most up to date Las Vegas real estate information call our office at 702-985-7654.